Review: Four Weird Tales

Four Weird Tales Four Weird Tales by Algernon Blackwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Algernon Blackwood (14 March 1869 – 10 December 1951) was an English novelist and short-story writer best known for his stories of the supernatural. Many of his stories are in the public domain and online. I have previously read The Willows and The Man Whom the Trees Loved (online and as Librivox audio recordings). This is another Librivox recording: https://librivox.org/four-weird-tales… I started the collection John Silence but decided not to finish it at least for now; maybe I will try it some other time.) The readers are pretty much professional quality and I highly recommend it. All four stories are variations on a theme: the protagonist sets out to discover the secrets of the universe.

The Insanity of Jones — A man seeks revenge for injustices suffered in a past life. Or maybe he’s just crazy; take your pick.

The Glamour of the Snow — My favorite! A fine ghost story. Like The Willows this story deals with the terror and awe of the natural world. one of my favorite bits:
The world lay smothered in snow. The châlet roofs shone white beneath the moon, and pitch-black shadows gathered against the walls of the church. His eye rested a moment on the square stone tower with its frosted cross that pointed to the sky: then travelled with a leap of many thousand feet to the enormous mountains that brushed the brilliant stars. Like a forest rose the huge peaks above the slumbering village, measuring the night and heavens. They beckoned him. And something born of the snowy desolation, born of the midnight and the silent grandeur, born of the great listening hollows of the night, something that lay ‘twixt terror and wonder, dropped from the vast wintry spaces down into his heart—and called him. Very softly, unrecorded in any word or thought his brain could compass, it laid its spell upon him. Fingers of snow brushed the surface of his heart. The power and quiet majesty of the winter’s night appalled him…

The Man Who Found Out — A man discovers the secrets of the universe and then wishes he hadn’t. This one fell a bit flat for me. But there’s a good post about it as part of The Lovecraft Reread, a project at Tor.com about HP Lovecraft, writers (like Blackwood) who inspired him, and writers who were inspired by him.
https://www.tor.com/2018/02/21/you-wi…

Sand — The protagonist travels to Egypt and joins two other travelers exploring the desert. This is the longest story in the collection. I liked the beginning, but I think this one is a bit too long and slow. It drags a bit.

View all my reviews

Published by Beth @ Beth's Bookish Thoughts

This blog is for my thoughts on reading. A couple of my friends on GoodReads have blogs, so eventually I decided to start one myself. I hope to get involved in the book blogging community and become a better reader and writer! I am not accepting copies of new books for review, but I would be interested in new editions or new translations of classic authors. Find me on Upwork (as an editor) in the profile link. From September 2018 to October 2020 I blogged at Blogger.

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